THE ACCEPTANCE OF SUFFERING — COMPLETE DEDICATION TO THE WILL OF GOD
Don’t shrink back from total commitment to the will of God even though you see that it will bring some suffering. Peter has already encouraged us regarding the Triumph of Suffering and the Assurance of Triumph. Now he exhorts us to Accept Suffering.
Big Idea: ACCEPT SUFFERING (from the perspective of living for eternity and in the context of commendable conduct) AND DEDICATE YOURSELF TO THE WILL OF GOD KNOWING YOU WILL BE VINDICATED AND VICTORIOUS
The worse they can do is kill you (like they crucified Christ) and that just gains you a quicker entrance into the spiritual realm of sinless perfection (which is the goal we are longing for).
I. ACCEPT SUFFERING IN THE CHRISTIAN WARFARE (:1)
A. Our Example = The Suffering of Christ unto death
Strange warfare: you don’t fight back, but you accept suffering
This suffering is limited to our earthly existence which is nothing from the perspective of eternity (John 18:10-11 – a tough lesson for Peter to learn)
B. Our Armor — another weapon to add to the Christian armor
“in mind” (Heb. 4:12 only other usage); program your mind correctly
patience and submissiveness under unjust treatment
we need to have the mind of Christ
C. Our Goal = Sinless Perfection When is that goal attainable?
Only after death = “suffered in the flesh” unto death!
Our Desire as Christians is to cease from sin; that is why we wanted a Savior (the thought of Christians who are satisfied with sin and just want a ticket to heaven that they can cash in when they die is foreign to Scripture)
II. DEDICATE YOURSELF TO THE WILL OF GOD (:2-3)
this is a result of the proper mind-set (not a result of ceasing from sin); Our lives on earth should be clearly divided into 2 different periods of time and corresponding lifestyles
A. “the time already past” — “the desire of the Gentiles”
“the lusts of men”
1. lasciviousness — indecency, lack of restraint, immoral excess (2 Cor. 12:21) — actions that excite disgust and shock public decency
2. sinful, passionate desires of all sorts; lusts
perverting natural desires into sinful desires
3. drunkenness — under control of wine
4. brawls, riots — reinforcing one another in a crowd
5. drinking parties
6. abominable idolatries — contrary to law and justice
these must have been bad if forbidden by Roman law
B. “the rest of the time in the flesh” — “the will of God”
How committed are we to the will of God? We are very concerned (almost obsessed) with God’s will as it relates to our happiness (finding the right life partner, best job, best house, best car), but that is a very man-centered approach to the will of God;
What is God’s program = THE CHURCH; How am I functioning to further God’s program?
III. VINDICATION (:4-5)
A. The Astonishment of the Unsaved
thinking something to be foreign in nature to something else
B. The Attack by the Unsaved = they blaspheme
C. The Accounting (:5) payback
Despite what man think (cf. days of Noah), God is holding Himself in readiness to render judgment; Death will provide no escape judgment is often seen as vindication of the righteous
IV. VICTORY (:6) example of Christian martyrs
In view of final judgment, the martyred believers are better off than the unbelieving Gentiles. “With this end in view (i.e. the final judgment and accounting) was the gospel formerly preached also to those (martyrs) now dead, that they might be (as they were) judged in the flesh by their persecutors (and condemned to martyrdom) after the fashion of men, but might live in the glorified spiritual realm according to God.”